How often have we approached some kind of machine, only to find a notice taped across it: OUT OF ORDER? Some part of its machinery has broken causing malfunction. It is no longer fit for purpose and needs an engineer to repair it. There are times when we demonstrate that our lives are out of order when we produce strife, stress, confusion, fear – the list is endless. God created us for His good pleasure to live our lives in His divine order. Only as I walk in His ways do I enjoy the benefits of an ordered life, that is the rest, peace, joy and fellowship of His presence.
We can be so familiar with biblical history, and yet, blinded to how our lives often reflect the same mistakes our forefathers made. When we incline our ear to the Lord, we can learn from their mistakes. The account of the lives of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis teach us many principles. Abraham had received a promise from God that he and his wife Sarah would birth a son in their old age. After waiting some years and having not yet received the promise, Sarah convinced Abraham to “help God out” to fulfill it. She persuaded Abraham to have relations with Hagar, her maid, who produced a son, Ishmael. OUT OF ORDER! Ishmael was born in permission. He was never God’s divine purpose. God still loved him, and Hagar, but Ishmael was not the child God promised. Another thirteen years passed before the Lord fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah and Isaac was born to them. Isaac was the child of God’s promise.
Hagar and Ishmael could not dwell peaceably in the household and God required Abraham to send them away. Abraham must have suffered pain from the conflict of obeying the Lord in “casting them out”. (As you read the account you will find the Lord made provision for them, in His mercy. They did not die.)
We have all, at times, produced our own “Ishmaels“. Instead of waiting for God to move, or fulfill, His word, we have gone ahead of the Lord and tried to work things out in our own strength and understanding, only to suffer “shipwreck” along the way. Because of our wrong choices we have produced a set of consequences that we now have to live with and work through. Dear God, let them be learning curves and not a continual repetition of a life lived OUT OF ORDER. God wants His best for me, not second best!
Our Heavenly Father is ever seeking His best for us, beckoning us to walk more closely with Him. He is the divine “fixer” of our lives that are out of order. He works by replacing our wreckage with the life of His Son. As I submit and yield to His hand, I receive another measure of the fullness of Christ. His divine life is ever seeking to rule my heart and flow out through me. “Ishmael and Isaac” cannot live peaceably in the same house. My “Ishmaels” appear in the circumstances I have created in my own strength that were not God ordained. I may struggle at the thought and pain of “casting out the bondwoman and her son”, but the Lord seeks to bring His purpose and promise, “Isaac, the proper child” to my life that my days will be “like heaven on earth”. While I continue to birth “Ishmaels”, I inhibit the life of Christ in me.
In Genesis 17:1 the Lord is recorded, saying to Abram, “…I am Almighty God, walk before me and be perfect.” In the margin of KJV, for the word “perfect”, it expounds “sincere and mature.” Our Heavenly Father seeks sincerity from us, choosing surrender. He will bring us on to maturity as He works with us. My greatest need is to stop judging others and walk in integrity before the Lord. Instead of endeavouring to put others right, I need to get right with Him.
God’s promise to Abraham is our inheritance too. After commanding Abraham to walk “perfectly” before Him, the Lord continues with this promise, (Genesis 17:7), “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” We have this promise for our generations after us, for our children and grandchildren. This is part of our covenant blessings, our birthright. We have all birthed our “Ishmaels”. Let us surrender our hurt pride at our failures and flaws, listen to our divine Guide and go onwards to maturity and divine purpose. Maybe our families, (our seed), are not following the Lord. Rest in God’s covenant promise, they are under the umbrella of His promise. Only the Holy Spirit can draw a man to the Lord. He is the divine “fixer” of lives. I must heed His call to walk in the light of all He has revealed to me, and refrain from judging others. As I do this, I find His divine presence brings order to my once chaotic life.
Do I lack authority in my life? Then I need to pay more heed to the word of God, the light He has given me I must choose to walk in, by His strength. As I come under God’s authority and ways, only then will I bear the fruit of the divine life of His Son.
What is it the Lord requires of me? Micah 6:8 “…..To do justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” ……then our ways will be upright and pleasing to the Lord. This is my responsibility in daily choices. God (and not me), will fulfill His covenant promises at His appointed time, according to His divine purposes, for His glory. The resurrected Christ, will live His life through a surrendered vessel.
Learn of Jesus, lean on Jesus, trust in Jesus. Rest in His love and enjoy His covenant blessings as you live worthy of Him. Our Father holds today and all our tomorrows safely in His hands. He will fulfill His promises. He is our promise Keeper.